FIFA’s investigation into Salt Bae’s onfield World Cup appearance has descended into a farce after pictures emerged of the Turkish butcher with an access all areas VVIP pass. The 39-year-old has received furiously backlash online after he was seen messing around with the Argentinian players as they celebrated with the trophy, breaking a long-standing tradition where only heads of state and former winners can hold the prized asset.
Salt Bae, real name Nusret Gokce, became an internet meme in 2017 after footage of him sprinkling salt onto steak went viral. He has gained a cilentel within celebrity circles with some of the most recognisable faces in the world, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, going to his restaurants for steak that can cost thousands of pounds.
His appearance at the World Cup final enraged fans across the globe as he mingled amongst the Argentinian players. He was spotted getting pictures with Lionel Scaloni’s stars, including Lionel Messi, and looked to be visibly irritating others by grasping the World Cup trophy for more photo opportunities.
FIFA have now spoken out given the backlash suggesting the chef shouldn’t have been on the pitch at all. Football’s governing body have stated they have launched an investigation into his appearance and pledged to take action.
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The passes almost certainly would not have given Gokce the chance to handle the World Cup trophy itself. According to FIFA rules it can only be held by a select group of people which do not include Salt Bae. They read: “The original FIFA World Cup Trophy can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former winners of the FIFA World Cup and heads of state.”
As a result, the cook may still find himself receiving substantial punishment even if he was allowed to enter the pitch. Only time will tell what the investigation will find.